Services are growing rapidly. The value-added of th

?tertiary sector, which is mainly services, grew from 56.7 to 57.3 percent of GDP from the same period last year. The

Index of Services Production increased 7.4 percent year-on-year, higher than the growth rate of overall GDP.

Overall retail sales of consumer goods also grew at 8.3 percent. Sales of upgraded consumer goods witnessed fast gro

wth, with the highest rates concentrated in upgraded products such as cosmetics, phones and computers.

And, high-tech services grew at an astonishing rate of 21.2 percent. In prepa

ring for consumer 5G telecoms next year, the output of mobile communications base stations grew 153.7 percent.

The data also show strong movement toward the government’s goal

of creating an ecological civilization. New energy automobiles and solar cells grew by 48.2 percen

t and 18.2 percent, respectively. Sales of urban rail vehicles grew by 54.1 percent, showing the

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investment in environment-friendly urban mas

?transit. According to NBS preliminary estimates, the share of consumption of clean energy such as natural gas, hydropo

wer, nuclear power and wind power in total energy consumption in the first quarter was 1.5 percentage points hi

gher than that of the same period last year. Energy consumption per unit of GDP went down by 2.7 percent year-on-year.

Total investment in fixed aassets grew by 6.3 percent, with private invest

ment growing at 6.4 percent, slightly faster than the overall number. This is es

pecially significant in the light of last year’s fears that private investment in the econo

my might collapse. So, the government’s efforts to strengthen the private sector appear to have borne fruit.

Investment in high-tech manufacturing rose by 11.4 percent and investme

nt in high-tech services rose 19.3 percent, both far higher than overall investment gro]

wth. This shows that the shift toward advanced manufacturing and services is well underway.

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Chinese firms ideal partners on Belt and Road Initiative

Firms from China and the UK are ideal partners in many countries along t

he Belt and Road Initiative, a China-Britain Business Council official said in Beijing.

“The UK has taken a very positive view on seizing these opportunit

ies for UK businesses, particularly our banks, our large consultancy firms and our infr

astructure companies,” said Jeff Astle, managing director of China operations at the council.

British expertise in areas of financial services, banking, legal services, consulting services around engineering pro

vides a broad range of opportunities for UK firms to collaborate with Chinese firms in other countries, Astle said.

“We benefit from many English legal jurisdictions in many

of these countries, the English language and our businesses have long history and experiences in these coun

tries. That means we are a great ideal partner for Chinese firms in many of these Belt and Road counties,” said Astle.

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The annual report estimates that total electricity cons

umption in 2019 is expected to grow 5.8 percent. Demand for coal is expected to hit 3.95 billion

tons, with the power sector still playing a significant role in the consumption of coal.

Consumption of oil is predicted to reach 620 million tons, up 1.6 percent year-on-year, while

the growth rate for natural gas consumption is expected to slow, with an annual consumption of 310 billi

on cubic meters in 2019, up 10.4 percent year-on-year, it said.The 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Ex

hibition (Expo 2019 Beijing) opens to visitors Monday, and will showcase a wide variety of flowers, fruits, vegetables and

herbs from across the world, including more than 300 rare and endangered plant species.

Nearly 20,000 volunteers across media, translation and giving directio

ns will work at the 162-day event, running April 29 – Oct 7. Click to watch their greetings in s

even languages: Chinese, English, Russian, French, German, Spanish and Japanese.

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The BRI originated in China but its opportunities an

?outcomes belong to the world, Xi said, adding that the second forum sen

ds a clear message to the world: The BRI will have a brighter future as the circle of its

supporters expands, as good partners increase and as the quality of cooperation improves.

Around 5,000 people from some 150 countries and about 90 international organizations attended the forum.

Participants hailed the BRI as a great initiative for economic cooperation, saying it is conducive t

o promoting connectivity and enhancing international cooperation in fields such as trade, investment and sustainable development.Calling Belt and Road con

struction a path to common prosperity, Xi said that early results from the BRI op

en up more space for global economic growth, build a platform for international cooperation and make new co

ntributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

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Those involved in the BRI will strengthen synerg

y in development plans and initiatives of various countries and international organizations and in

tensify bilateral and the third-party market cooperation to help more countries raise their level of connectivity, Xi said.

He added that participants agreed that Belt and Road forums are an important platform for multilateral co

operation and should be held on a regular basis.

President calls for countries’ joint efforts in building Belt, Road in forum speech

President Xi Jinping pledged on Friday to take strong measures such as easing market

access for foreign capital and increasing imports to promote the higher-level opening-up of the country.

While delivering the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the

Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, Xi said that the p

urpose of building the Belt and Road is to achieve win-win cooperation and common development.

China will increase imports of goods and services on a larger scale, and it will further lower its tariff rates, Xi said.

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Pledges at forum draw overseas experts’ praise

The international community has hailed President Xi Jinping’s call on Friday to ease market

access for foreign capital and increase imports so that opening-up reaches a higher level.

Xi said in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the S

econd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing that the purpose of buil

ding the Belt and Road is to achieve win-win cooperation and common development.

China will increase its imports of goods and services and will further lower its tariff rates, Xi said.

Francis Chua, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commer

ce and Industry, noted Xi’s emphasis on quality imports and state-of-the-art products.

“China will keep its commitments,” said Chua, who was attending the forum as a member of the Philippine business delegation.

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Chris Rowley, a visiting professor from Oxford Unive

rsity’s Kellogg College in England, called opening to more foreign investment a very important development.

“Of course this will expose both inward investors and indigenous organiza

tions to some stark differences in management and doing business between them, which in tu

rn requires more globally effective leaders who are less ethnocentric and more culturally aware,” he said.

Sikhumbuzo Zondi, a research assistant at the Institute for Global

Dialogue associated with the University of South Africa, said another important aspect of Xi’s

opening address was the desire to invest more resources in scientific innovation and technology.

The aim is to develop technologies and business models that will foster new growth an

d development. To do this, China is committed to spearheading the Belt and Road Science, Technology and In

novation Cooperation Action Plan to advance information and communications technology infras

tructure development with the aim of improving internet connectivity and security, Zondi said.

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Country’s 1st space station to be shared a full-size m

China’s plan to involve international communities in its space mis

sions to jointly conduct space research shows its determination to further enhance global coop

eration in space projects, according to the director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. That incl

udes opening up its planned space station to other countries, especially developing countries.

China’s space station, which is expected to be completed and operating by 2022, will be the world’s first space station open

for cooperation with all UN member states in manned space flights and exploration. The station will be able to sup

port research on astronomy, space life sciences, biotechnology, microgravity fundamental physics and space materials science.

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China looks to strike a balance between meeting finan

ancing needs, sustainable development and debt sustainability, according to Finance Minister Liu Kun.

“We will build a high-standard and high-quality financing system to s

upport long-term and sustainable BRI investment while preventing debt risks,” Liu said.

He suggested promoting financing cooperation for projects in

third-party countries, equity investment and attracting more private funding.

Enhancing debt and risk management is a key consideration for deepening BRI financi

ng cooperation, said Yi Gang, governor of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank.

“The debt issue in developing countries should be treated objective

ly. If debt growth is accompanied by infrastructure improvement, enhancement of people’s liveliho

ods and productivity and poverty reduction, it will be beneficial for the sustainability of long-term debt,” Yi said.

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